As the season has progressed forward, we have seen players break out of their early-season slumps. While those were lucky enough to do so, some are still in that funk.
A quarter of the way through the season and these notable struggles are starting to heavily impact fantasy rosters across all platforms. We have even entered the point in the season where we are starting to see some hot starts begin to cool as we are about to enter the month of June. With that, come two other players that have not been able to break out of their funk as of yet. Many fantasy managers are trying to hold out hope for them, but is it time to hit the panic button?
I Wander What’s Going On
Wander Franco came out of the gates rolling. Some were concerned with the “slow” start to Spring Training but he was able to silence the doubters as soon as Opening Day rolled around. As of late, he has not been so lucky.
Lately, Franco has been dealing with a few ailments that have even held him out of the lineup for the Rays during their weekend series against Baltimore. While a groin, and hamstring, injury is nothing to mess around with, is this the reason why Franco has run into a bit of a cold spell recently?
Before Wander’s struggles, dating back to Mother’s Day weekend, Franco was slashing .304/.328/.488 with four home runs and a wRC+ of 142. His K% was a microscopic 9.9% and he was getting on base at such a high clip through his overall contact percentage of 87.3%. However, since May 13th, Franco is only hitting .071 without any extra-base hits and an OBP of .129.
Franco is an elite talent. His bat-to-ball skills are incredible. I’d attribute the struggles to the injuries that he is currently dealing with. The panic button is well tucked away for the Rays shortstop.
When Will the Shwar-Bombs Come?
When Kyle Schwarber signed in Philadelphia, many saw it as a great fit. Between the benefits of hitting in Citizens Bank Park, and in a lineup that featured reigning-MVP Bryce Harper, recently signed Nick Castellanos, and J.T. Realmuto, we figured he would be a great player to accumulate all the counting stats we look for in fantasy. Unfortunately, Schwarber just hasn’t been able to break out of the funk thus far.
Schwarber has just cracked the Mendoza line in terms of batting average. While the power number is still there, as shown by the 10 home runs so far this season, the K% is at a career-high 32.4%. That ranks in the 5th percentile in all of the majors this season. The struggles can be much attributed to his approach to the plate.
To coincide with his 12.9% BB%, Schwarber has been very selective when in the batter’s box. He’s swinging at a career-low mark of 38.4% of pitches this season. His career mark is normally around 42.5%.
If Schwarber was to revert to his old approach, all the batted ball data suggests he will get back to the Kyle Schwarber we are all used to seeing. When the Phillies lineup finds its groove, Schwarber will be a reason why. As of right now, you have a reason to worry. The panic button should be pressed if he continues to be as selective at the plate.
Should We Make Him Walk the Plank?
Labeled by most as a pre-season, underrated, darling, Bryan Reynolds hasn’t been able to live up to those expectations. The Pirates star player is off to a frigid start, as highlighted by his BaseballSavant page indicates.
The centerfielder was rumored to be on the move as the lockout ended, and the season crept closer. Those rumors were put to bed, for the time being, after he signed an extension with the team to buy out his arbitration years. Can the rumors still be affecting him? It’s a possibility. Nonetheless, Reynolds hasn’t been a notoriously slow starter in his career.
A career .281 hitter from March through May, Reynolds was only able to muster a .230 average through May 23rd. As of late, he seems to have been turning it around just a bit. From May 15th through the weekend series against the Cardinals ending on May 22nd, Reynolds was able to produce a .292/.370/.425 slash line with a wRC+ of 139 and limiting the strikeouts to only 14.8%. Not to mention the 11.1% walk rate that he has been able to gather as well.
The Barrel% is what is worrisome for Reynolds. The 4.9% barrel% would be the lowest of his career by a decent margin. He is also hitting the ball at a career-low 86.6 average exit velocity. An elevated ground ball rate could be the reason for the slow start thus far. However, the recent signs are showing us that we should not be hitting the panic button on Reynolds. If you have held on to him at this point, you should soon start reaping the rewards of your patience.
Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by Frank Jansky & Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire